By Sainey Darboe
A Commonwealth mission to The Gambia has faulted the efforts of the Gambia government in effectively communicating the challenges it faces to the public.
This is disclosed by a report on The Gambia, which will receive its public release on 16 April 2018 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.
The report made available to this medium in advance cited:
“By January 2017 overwhelming power had been centralised in the Office of the President. The Barrow Administration has taken action to decentralising decision making. The Office of the President has not been successful, in effectively communicating with the Gambian population the challenges faced by the government, and its successes. Additionally, the security arrangements around the President have caused some resentment among the security services and reinforced the impression of foreign influence and a detached President.
“The current government deserves credit for a significant move towards a collaborative cabinet system of government. A priority has been given by the Office of the President, and the Secretary-General and Head of the Civil Service, Dawda Fadera [now Habib Drammeh], to decentralising, and in the President’s words ‘decentralize’ government away from the State House.
Ministers now make the big decisions related to their portfolios and then bring these to the fortnightly cabinet meetings. One Minister did confirm there had not been a cabinet meeting for a month prior to our visit, but in the main the system appears to be working. Of concern is the lack of gender balance within the cabinet, only four of the 18 ministers are women. With women making up more than half the population this is not sufficiently representative.”